FEW Member since 2011
I was born in Heidelberg, Germany. My father was in the Army and I spent my early childhood on several Army bases. My parents decided to make Panama City, FL home where I grew up between two brothers. You would think that as the only girl I would have been the favored one. Not so. My parents were deliberate in delivering fair and equitable treatment. My brothers and I grew up hearing character and integrity speeches from our parents. Early in my young adult life, I realized the impact those speeches had on the way I interacted with others.
You and your family
I would describe myself as one who prefers to focus on the positive aspect of challenges. Life presents many obstacles, and I work through difficulties more effectively when I do not let negativity overwhelm me. I would rather view a challenge as an opportunity.
I have been married to my husband, August, for eight years. August (Gus) and I met in 2000 on a cruise to Canada from New York. I was traveling with my cousin, who is more like a sister to me. Gus was traveling with his best friend from childhood. We were seated at the same dinner table, kept in touch with each other, and became good friends after the cruise. Gus retired after 25 years as a firefighter in Carteret, NJ; and in 2006, he called to let me know he had become a Floridian and was living in Winter Garden. I was in Fort Myers, FL at the time. We developed a commute rotation to spend time getting to know each other. In the spring of 2009, my previous employer relocated me to Central Florida. Later that year while on a cruise, Gus proposed. Needless to say that was my best vacation ever!
We continue to enjoy cruise vacations, and we enjoy visiting EPCOT during the fall Food and Wine Festival and the spring Flower and Garden Festival. Neither Gus nor I have children, but we both enjoy mentoring youth.
Your position and company
I served as a PNC Private Client Group relationship manager from September 2014 to May 2018. Due to a Company reorganization announcement in May, I accepted a position as Branch Manager at PNC’s Champions Gate branch. My primary responsibilities include leading a team of bankers and conducting business development activities.
Leading the team includes leading by example in delivering quality service to all clients and delivering solutions to meet the financial needs of clients and their families. I coach teammates for their career growth and development.
Conducting business development activities include meeting with existing and prospective business owners to ensure business clients are aware of privacy and security concerns and the tools available to protect their livelihood. Additionally, business client review meetings include assessing cash flow and cash management efficiencies and sharing tools and ideas available to enhance business performance.
My greatest career accomplishment occurred in my prior role as a PNC Private Client Group relationship manager. In September 2014, I was assigned a new book of business which was reporting a negative profitability with a 1-Star rating. Over a two-year period, I was successful in growing the book of business to a maximum 5-Star profitability position resulting in my ranking in the top 5 of 115 relationship managers in my peer group. I maintained this status until I vacated the role. I did not view the success as hard work. It was the result of having appropriate conversations with clients, establishing trust, and doing the right thing for clients and their families while always interacting with integrity. Yes, even at this point in my life, those character and integrity speeches from my parents are at the heart of what I do. Thanks Mom and Dad!
Most meaningful achievement
Considering some of the challenges I faced in completing my college degree program, I would say graduating with honors and being named to the National Deans’ List was most meaningful to me.
Most important career help received
Jeff Atwater, previous Chief Financial Officer of Florida, was my first bank regional manager when I became a banker with the former Barnett Bank in Jacksonville, FL. Jeff provided great support and advice which convinced me I could become a successful banker.
I am passionate about education and mentoring youth. I was fascinated with becoming a teacher after being educated by my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Hardy. I graduated from UNF with a BAE, degree in Business Education. After meeting a recruiter from Barnett Bank, I chose to pursue the business side of the degree program. However, after all these years, I’m still passionate about educating our youth. I recently became a mentor with Valencia-Take Stock in Children.
PNC’s Grow Up Great and Alzheimer’s Association.
Unexpected things about you
I play clarinet and saxophone. I was in junior and senior high school marching bands and played bass clarinet and baritone saxophone during symphonic band seasons.
Earlier, I mentioned my birthplace. Most people I meet are intrigued when hearing I was born in Germany.
Favorite travel destinations
Other than the cruise to Canada which changed my life because I met Gus, one of my favorite destinations is Hawaii. I really appreciate the beauty of Hawaii and love the ‘hang loose’ relaxation everywhere you visit there.
I enjoy getting to know the women of FEW and love hearing and reading of their successes. I continue to be inspired by so many women in FEW.
Current major challenge and how others could help
I enjoy my relationship manager role in banking. However, the role is susceptible to transition and even elimination when banks reorganize. During recent years, I have experienced a layoff and two position eliminations which resulted in my taking positions I do not prefer. At this point in my life, I am giving thought to how I can utilize my skills and attributes in another career path. I enjoy working and I’m not ready to retire. I welcome suggestions and conversations.
FEW Member since 2014
I was born and raised in Ohio. My father was a chemical engineer and adjunct professor at the University of Toledo and my mother was a teacher and a social worker. I have one sister and grew up with aunts, uncles, and grandparents who lived close by and were a very important part of my upbringing. I have very fond memories of spending weekends and summers with my grandparents going to the park, learning how to fish, swim, bake, sew and do crafts. They were nurturing and wise and I loved hearing their stories. My loving relationship with my grandparents is the reason I am doing what I do now. I strongly believe seniors have a wealth of knowledge and deserve our respect.
You and your family
I am energetic, friendly, trustworthy, and kind. I have been married to my wonderful husband, Andy, for 31 years who is one of 13 children, so you can imagine how joyful and chaotic our family gatherings are! Andy and I have 3 daughters, 5 grandchildren (4 girls and 1 boy all under the age of 5) and 2 grand dogs. Free time not spent with grandkids is at the beach, hiking in the mountains, and traveling.
Company and position
I have been involved in Florida aging services for over 30+ years and currently serve as the President/CEO of Seniors First, Inc., a 52 year old not-for-profit senior service agency in Central Florida. Our mission is to enhance the quality of life of seniors by maintaining their independence and dignity. Seniors First, best known for Meals on Wheels, provides Neighborhood Lunch & other nutrition programs, In-home support and Guardianship services and manages Stepping Stone Medical Equipment Bank, all designed to help seniors remain independent and in their own homes for as long as possible. My scope of responsibilities include oversight and management of all agency operations as well as fundraising and strategic planning. I have a dedicated team doing great work. We have learned how to serve seniors with the utmost empathy; continuing to speak out for those who have no voice, advocating on their behalf, and connecting them to additional community resources.
Proudest moment is the most recent recognition by Scott Maxwell at the Orlando Sentinel as one of the 10 people who make Orlando a better place to live. Wow! I was so honored to have been selected and acknowledged for the work that Seniors First does to make sure vulnerable seniors with limited options do not go hungry or are isolated and alone.
Important career support received
I have led my organization through 2 mergers. During this time of uncertainty and transition, had it not been for my family support system and several key mentors that coached me to stay the course, I might have chosen a different career path. In the face of uncomfortable circumstances, their advice to affirm my decision was reassuring and I have no regrets.
Most important causes
In addition to seniors, I am also passionate about both children and animals. My first job out of college was in the child welfare system in a small town outside of Columbus, Ohio. I was a protective services investigator, foster care trainer, and guardian ad litem for abused and neglected children. This experience opened my eyes to the need for awareness, education and advocacy to insure that children are protected and safe. The same goes for animals. These sweet and innocent creatures provide unconditional love, loyal companionship, and a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Currently we have no pets, but have adopted 3 rescues the most recent, a Golden Retriever named Kona, who just passed away in February.
Little-known personal things
I played clarinet in the marching band in high school (not something I was particularly good at) and was a certified water safety instructor and scuba diver prior to moving to Florida after college. The oceans in Florida are much more scenic than the rock quarries in Ohio!
Favorite travel destinations
My 2 favorite travel destinations are Spain and Sedona. The 10 days spent in Spain were magical. We were able to travel to many different parts of the country – Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Segovia, and Toledo. All very different, rich in history and culture and great food.
The unique beauty of Sedona was breathtaking. The hiking trails were challenging and the red rock mountain views are spectacular. Sunrises and sunsets are opportunities for meditation and allowing your heart to open in a flow of gratitude and appreciation.
“You can’t go back and change the beginning but you can start where you are and change the ending” – CS Lewis
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” – Maya Angelou
What keeps me involved with FEW is the meaningful relationships I have developed with talented and accomplished women. My participation on the scholarship committee as both a member for 3 years and the Chairman this past year has also been very rewarding. The difference the FEW scholarships make for these very deserving women is inspiring and impactful.